Hearts of Fire

Hearts of Fire is a 1987 American musical drama film starring Bob Dylan, Fiona Flanagan (billed only as "Fiona") and Rupert Everett. The film was essentially a vehicle for Dylan based on his success as a rock musician. It received poor reviews, a limited theatrical release[1] and was later written off by Dylan himself.

Hearts of Fire
VHS cover of Hearts of Fire
Directed byRichard Marquand
Produced byDoug Harris
Jennifer Miller
Iain Smith
Written byJoe Eszterhas
StarringBob Dylan
Rupert Everett
Fiona Flanagan
Suzanne Bertish
Music byJohn Barry
CinematographyAlan Hume
Edited bySean Barton
Distributed byLorimar Motion Pictures
Release date
  • 1987 (1987) (U.S.)
Running time
95 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$17 million

Origin and filming

Originally written by Scott Richardson, the screenplay was rewritten by Basic Instinct writer Joe Eszterhas because Lorimar Productions felt that Richardson was a "baby writer" and not experienced enough to take on the responsibility of a starring vehicle for a rock icon of Dylan's stature. Hearts of Fire is also regarded as the film that "killed Richard Marquand", who had directed Return of the Jedi and died of a stroke the same year.[2][3]

The film was shot in Canada (Hamilton and Toronto) at the defunct Davenport Works of the Canadian General Electric Company and the United Kingdom (Southerndown and Coney Beach at Porthcawl).[4][5] The film's concert scenes were shot at the Colston Hall in Bristol,[6] and Camden, North London (UK).[5] Concert scenes filmed at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton Ontario


Hearts of Fire did poorly in theaters. It was first released in the UK in 1987 and was pulled from the theaters after approximately two weeks. As a result, the film was not released to theaters in the United States.

Home media

In the United States, the film was released directly to video in 1990.[7] The film was re-released on VHS by Warner Brothers on December 6, 1993.[8]

The film was released digitally for purchase through iTunes and Vudu.


Variety lamented that it was "unfortunate that the last film of helmer Richard Marquand, who died shortly after completing it, should be Hearts of Fire" and that the film failed "to fire on all cylinders despite a nimble performance by the enigmatic Bob Dylan typecast as a reclusive rock star."[9] Channel 4 deemed the film a "blunt instrument of 80s vacuity."[10] DVDLaser stated that it is "a really bad movie," but also that the viewer's opinion of Bob Dylan is "the key to liking or disliking the film."[11]

Time Out London said that Dylan "hovers enigmatically on the sidelines, offering jaundiced comments."[12]


In 1987, Columbia Records released the soundtrack to the film. Dylan was apparently originally contracted to write and contribute four new original recordings to the album[13] but only turned in two original songs and one cover song. The tracks included a cover of John Hiatt's "The Usual", along with the Dylan originals "Night After Night" and "Had a Dream About You Baby". Dylan later released an alternate version of "Had a Dream About You Baby" on the 1988 album Down in the Groove.


  1. Heylin, Clinton (2003). Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited. HarperCollins. pp. 603–604. ISBN 0-06-052569-X.
  2. Eszterhas, Joe (2005). Hollywood Animal. Random House, Inc. p. 35. ISBN 0-375-71895-8.
  3. Eszterhas, Joe (2007). The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God!. Macmillan. pp. 176, 352. ISBN 0-312-37384-8.
  4. "Internet Movie Database - List of Films shot in Hamilton, Ontario". Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  5. Hearts of Fire (1987) - Filming locations
  6. "History 1980s". Colston Hall. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  7. Maltin, Leonard (2003). Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide 2004. Plume. p. 598. ISBN 0-452-28478-3.
  8. Hearts of Fire Amazon.com
  9. "Hearts of Fire Movie Review". Variety. 1987-01-01.
  10. "Channel4.com/film - Hearts of Fire". Channel4.com. 2006-06-24. Archived from the original on 2006-06-24. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  11. "Hearts of Fire Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  12. "Hearts Of Fire Press Conference". Interferenza.com. 1986-08-17. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
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